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Full text of "Lectures And Essays"

., VIRCHOW ON THE TEACHING OF SCIENCE   327

time it cultivates a habit of accepting beliefs
on the strength of the evidence for them, of
preferring true and honest knowledge to sham
knowledge. And it secures us against the
teaching, as known fact, of that which is not
known fact The only danger in this respect is
in the doctrine of molecules ; and here we must
impress very carefully on our teachers that
they should not miss the important lesson in
logic ar^d in scientific procedure involved in the
conception of a hypothesis, and in recognising
the imperfection of the evidence which fails to
exclude all other hypotheses.

Now let us go back from this chemical
doctrine of atomicities to the doctrine of evolu-
tion. In what form shall we have the doctrine
of evolution taught to our children ? Certainly
not as a dogma to be accepted on the authority
of the teacher, evidence for which may be forth-
coming afterwards. Certainly not at all until
our children are competent to understand the
nature of the evidence for it Certainly not,
therefore, first in its most general form, and
afterwards in special applications ; but first in
those special cases where the evidence is of the
simplest kind, most closely related to the facts ;
and then, as a consequence of the comparison
of these cases, the general doctrine may suggest
itself.

Nevertheless, the teacher, knowing what is